Former President Poroshenko says he will not be jailed on his return to Ukraine

17 January 2022, 09:12 AM

Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko confirmed his plans to return to Ukraine on Jan. 17 and spoke about his possible arrest in an interview with U.S.-funded media outlet Current Time on Jan. 13.

Poroshenko clarified that he is coming back to Ukraine not to defend himself against Ukraine’s current President Volodymyr Zelensky, but to “protect the country.”

Asked about how he intends to continue his political struggle from behind bars, Poroshenko said, “I won’t be jailed – (they will come up short) on the will and the guts (to do it).”

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“After all, being the fifth president (of Ukraine), I hardly can betray the trust of millions of voters who voted for me and my party in 2014 and 2019 (…),” he added.

According to Poroshenko, dropping opinion poll ratings for the Zelensky-founded majority party Servant of the People has motivated President Zelensky to “…get rid of his opposition ahead of the parliamentary elections, not unlike what happened in 2012,” referring to the jailing of Yulia Tymoshenko, a Ukrainian politician, on charges many say were fabricated by then-president Viktor Yanukovych.

“Well, we won’t make it easy for him: he will have to tell the Ukrainian people how exactly I committed high treason,” he added.

The treason charges the former president is now facing stem from allegedly criminal schemes for importing coal from Russian-occupied areas of the Donbas region – formerly Ukraine’s key coal-mining region.

The State Bureau of Investigations alleges that Poroshenko abused his power and influence to annul coal contracts with South Africa and later, at Russia’s behest, signed contracts for coal supply from the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine, allegedly making “…Ukraine’s energy supply dependent on Russia and Russia-controlled self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”

The former president’s party, European Solidarity, have denied the charges against Poroshenko and accused incumbent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to repress his political opponents.

Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court on Jan. 6 ordered the seizure of the property owned by Poroshenko.

The property seized by the court includes several apartments in the cities of Vinnytsia and Kyiv, a manor house in the village of Kozyn, 25 kilometers to the south of the capital, land plots, and shares in private companies.

Poroshenko began a diplomatic trip to Poland and Turkey in December, 2021. He plans to return to Ukraine at 0900 Kyiv time, flying in from Poland, on Jan. 17.

The former president’s lawyers have requested the court hearing to be scheduled for Jan. 17, so that Poroshenko can attend in person.

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